Monday, 28 January 2013

How to make Chicken Stock

 "Why is chicken soup superior to all things we have, even more relaxing than 'Tylenol?'  It is because chicken soup has a natural ingredient which feeds, repairs and calms the mucous lining in the small intestine.  The inner lining is the beginning or ending of the nervous system.  It is easily pulled away from the intestine through too many laxatives, too many food additives ....and parasites.  Chicken soup....heals the nerves, improves digestion, reduces allergies, relaxes and give strength."  Hanna Kroeger Ageless Remedies from Mother's Kitchen
I have previously written about the many health benefits of homemade stock.

Many of the recipes I post call for chicken stock.  I use an enormous amount of chicken stock so I have to make it pretty much weekly.  It is part of the weekend routine along with nut milk, a nut or seed butter, home made aioli, and some sort of roast meat for sandwiches.  It might sound like a lot of work but really it is mostly about timing. (I don't need the same quantities of beef stock and tend to make it every 3 weeks to a month)

You think baking cookies makes your house smell good?......I would make a stronger argument for chicken stock, especially in the winter time when there is nothing better than a warm comforting smell through the house.  If I am sick just the smell of the stock makes me start to feel better.

Start a stock at least 24 hours before you need some.  With food prices on a steep incline over the last couple of years it is only more important to get every bit out of your purchases.  In this recipe I have included some cost saving tips - using the bones previous meals or saving the vegetable scraps to use in stock.

Home Made Chicken Stock
The bones of approx 2 chickens. (save all the bones from all the chicken eaten during the week, keeping it in ziplock bags in the freezer until you are ready to make stock.)
2 carrots, snapped in two (or use the carrot peelings from the week)
2 onions, skins on, cut in half (or use the ends cut off for other dishes)
5-6 garlic cloves, lightly smashed, skins left on
2 stocks of celery, snapped in two (or use saved end cuts)
a handful of mushrooms (I only ever use them if I have some older wrinkly ones that need to be used)
1-1 1/2 tsp peppercorns
2 bay leaves
a bunch of parsley
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
approx 4 quarts cold filtered water

Place the bones in a large stock pot with the water, vegetables, bay leaves, peppercorns and vinegar and let stand for 30 minutes to an hour.  The acid of the vinegar starts the process of leaching nutrients out of the bones.  It is important to let this resting period happen before heating to get the most from the bones.

After the wait time bring to a boil, scraping off any 'scum' that forms on the surface. Turn down the heat and let simmer for 6-24 hours.  The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavourful it will be.  About 10 minutes before finishing, add the parsley.  This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth. Let cool until it is just warm.

Remove the bones with tongs or a slotted spoon.  Strain, using a strainer lined with cheese cloth or a kitchen towel, into a smaller pot or large bowl and refrigerate until the fat rises to the top and congeals**.  Skim off the fat and store stock in jars in fridge or freeze.  I don't bother clarifying my stock.

**If you usually buy canned or tetra pack stock you may be surprised to find your stock is getting thick or 'jello' like when it is cooled.  This is the sign that you have made it correctly and that gelatin has been rendered from the bones.  This is a very good thing.....see more here, at my Beef Stock post as to why.

This stock can be used for soups, stews, sauces, cooking rice, liquid for mash potatoes, or warm in a mug with a squeeze of lemon when sick. I promise it will make you feel better.

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